Flyers vs. Penguins: Kimmo Timonen previews series

April 1, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen (44) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Philadelphia Flyers won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

As the playoffs are just around the corner, Kimmo Timonen takes a quick look back at the season so far and previews the first round playoff series versus the Penguins.

"The regular season is over and the best part is ahead", Timonen says.

"If I think about last summer and how big changes this team went through, our season has gone really well, at least so far. I think we got twelve new guys and seven of them rookies. Just because of that I thought this would be a tough season. We've grown as a team and especially the young guys have all exceeded my expectations, so things are looking good heading into the playoffs."

"I think our first round opponent is the toughest possible in our conference. But I'm feeling confident because our game is looking good, too. I think the team that takes less penalties will be the favorite to win the series."

"If we have the courage to play our own system, we'll be fine. Skate hard and get the puck over the neutral zone fast. We shouldn't take risks there because they're fast with their counterattacks. If Crosby or Malkin gets the puck in the neutral zone, we're in trouble."

While Timonen expects great quality hockey, he also expects the series to be a battle.

"The history between the Flyers and Penguins goes way further back than my five years here, but these games have had a lot of emotion both sides also during my time here. I don't know why, I guess it just goes way back. These are also both good teams and it's a bit of a local matchup. You could easily say that both teams hate each other and that's why each win over the Penguins feels better than over any other team."

"It's going to be a tough and great series."

Translated from Kimmo's blog/STT.

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